Govt commits to achievement of universal health coverage

Government has reiterated its commitment to providing all the necessary finance and logistics support for the country to fully achieve universal health coverage (UHC).

To this end, the Health and Special Development Initiatives Ministries have initiated steps to procure ambulances for each constituency to assist referral system in order to improve emergency health care.

The Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said training of professionals across all disciplines of the health sector remain another key strategy for the achievement of UHC and therefore the Ministry had scaled up production and distribution of health professionals to address inadequacy of staff.

He also recounted that frantic efforts were being made to removeall financial barriers in the health sector such as payment of huge debts owed by National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to service providers and introduction of additional medications onto the Scheme.

The Health Minister said these in a speech read for him at the 42nd annual general meeting of health service administrators held in Sunyani.

The three-day conference was under the theme “Achieving Universal Health Coverage: the Role of the Health administrator.”

The Director General of Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, in a speech read on his behalf, urged health service administrators to be innovative and dynamic and never remain in the status quo, ‘as this is a hindrance to the growth and development of our system.”

He raised concern about ‘poor quality care’ in some health facilities, saying “various client satisfaction surveys have ranked poor staff attitude as the leading factor in explaining the poor quality of services.”

“We cannot achieve universal health coverage if our staff continue to be rude and uncaring. We can’t achieve UHC with staff continuing to exhibit untoward behavior such as pilfering, over and under invoicing, extortion, under-the-table collections that tend to increase cost to patients,” he said.

Dr Nsiah-Asare further bemoaned lack of proper maintenance at the health facilities, putting some of the facilities in quite deplorable and dilapidated state.

He entreated health administrators to ensure regular maintenance of facilities to improve the safety, quality and comfort of care.

The President of the Association of Health Service Administrators, Ghana (AHSAG), Fred Effah-Yeboah, indicated that the profession was under serious threat as agencies of the Health Ministry have been recruiting unqualified people and assigning them duties ordinarily meant for health administrators.

He said there were many trained health administrators who remain unemployed because financial clearance had not been issued, but the untrained people have been given financial clearance at the expense of the professionals.

FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH, SUNYANI

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